Resources to support your mental wellbeing.

NHS Every Mind Matters

Aahead of World Mental Health Day, the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launched the Better Health-Every Mind Matters campaign to support the nation’s mental wellbeing. The campaign heroes the little things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and how they can make a big difference; helping us to lead happier, healthier lives and cope with life’s challenges.

Mind Plan

At the heart of the campaign is the free, NHS endorsed Mind Plan quiz. Your Mind plan helps you build a practical plan you can use to help maintain and improve your mental health and wellbeing. 

By answering five simple questions, you can get a personalised mental health action plan with simple, practical tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost mood, sleep better and show the little things we can all do to look after our mental health.

 

Worries & Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone feels anxious from time to time and it usually passes once the situation is over. It can make our heart race, we might feel sweaty, shaky or short of breath. Anxiety can also cause changes in our behaviour, such as becoming overly careful or avoiding things that trigger anxiety.

When anxiety becomes a problem, our worries can be out of proportion with relatively harmless situations. It can feel more intense or overwhelming, and interfere with our everyday lives and relationships.

The good news is there are plenty of things you can try to help cope with anxiety. Watch the video to find out more.

For more ideas visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website

Stress

Stress is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It's very common, can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.

But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. If you are stressed, you may feel overwhelmed, have racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating, be irritable, feel constantly worried, anxious or scared, feel a lack of self-confidence, have trouble sleeping or feel tired all the time, avoid things or people you are having problems with and perhaps even drink or smoke or eat more than usual. 

Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period of time can also lead to a feeling of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, often called burnout.

Here are some tips for how to manage stress.

Low Moods & Depression

Everyone feels low or down from time to time. It does not always mean something is wrong. Feeling low is common after distressing events or major life changes, but sometimes periods of low mood happen for no obvious reason.

You may feel tired, lacking confidence, frustrated, angry and worried. But a low mood will often pass after a couple of days or weeks – and there are some easy things you can try and small changes you can make that will usually help improve your mood.

Feeling low may cause someone to stop doing the things they like, cut themselves off from loved ones or have difficulty sleeping. Other signs include feeling:

  • sad
  • worried, anxious or panicked
  • tired
  • less confident
  • frustrated, irritated or angry

A low mood should lift after a few days, but if it lasts longer than about 2 weeks, it may be a sign of depression and you should seek further help.

Top Tips

1: Connect with people

Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while you are all staying at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or social media – whether it's people you usually see often, or connecting with old friends.

Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.

  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you'd normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you're worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. 
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people while meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you've not seen for a while. 

2: Be Active

Taking time to be active can help with difficult emotions and worries and improve our wellbeing. There are lots of different ways that you can keep active and use your creative side. 

  • arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • DIY
  • colouring
  • mindfulness 
  • playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • writing
  • yoga
  • meditation.

If you can, you could also try to build more physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:

  • cleaning your home 
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow
  • sitting less – if you notice you've been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.

Arthritis Action have designed a number of gentle exercises that you can do at home and at a comfortable pace, including shoulder rolls, knee pushes, seated cycling and more.

3: Try Meditation and Mindfulness

Relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness can significantly help deal with feelings of anxiety. Becoming more aware of the present moment through mindfulness and meditation can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. It can also help to reduce anxiety by stopping you from worrying about past events or the future. 

Practising mindfulness has a number of other benefits too including reducing stress, blood pressure and chronic pain, as well as assisting with better memory and recall.

Why not try this mindful breathing exercise or mindful meditation on nature.